Yesterday was a truly historic day for not only Canada but also the rest of the global cannabis community. Canada legalized cannabis for adult use yesterday, making it the second country to do so, with Uruguay being the first.
Canada is the first G7 nation to legalize cannabis for adult use and is different from Uruguay in that it is now home to a robust regulated adult-use cannabis industry. For a while now medical cannabis patients have been able to order their cannabis through the mail in Canada, and that now extends to adult-use customers. Cannabis can also be purchased at stores.
I know of a lot of people that are planning trips to Canada to partake in the new freedoms that exist up there, and I have fielded questions from a handful of people asking if they can bring Canadian cannabis back with them to the U.S. The answer to that question is an unequivocal no. That is still very much illegal. Per CBC.ca:
According to a Canada Border Services Agency spokesperson, importing cannabis and cannabis products will still be prohibited under the proposed new law. Jennifer Morrison said in an email that a valid permit issued by Health Canada will be needed to do so.
Going south won’t be any different. While weed will be legal on both sides of the border, Calais’s port director with U.S. Customs and Border Protection said it will be business as usual.
“The change in legislation on the Canadian side is not going to affect the way that we enforce the U.S. federal laws,” said Corey McPhee.
He said under current U.S. federal policies, marijuana is prohibited from entering the country, so border agents will continue to follow those rules.
This is true for not just prohibition states in the U.S., but also for legal states like Maine and Washington State. Cannabis may be legal for adult use in both of those border states, but you still can’t legally cross the border with cannabis from Canada.
The only current way to legally bring cannabis from Canada to the United States is via an approved export/import, which only one entity on each side of the border has the legal right to do. Hopefully someday the policy will change, but for now, it’s very wise to keep your Canadian cannabis in Canada, and your state-legal cannabis in the U.S. Otherwise you could face legal consequences.